While the Country Slept: Financial Industry Profits Go Through the Roof

Print
Saturday, 30 July 2011 07:54

Okay, the country wasn't exactly sleeping, it was watching the Boehner-Tea Party charade about whether we should default on the national debt. While this process captivated the nation, the Commerce Department released new data on GDP. The pathetic second quarter GDP number, combined with the sharp downward revision to the first quarter got some attention. The 0.8 average growth rate over the first half of the year is well below the 2.5 percent rate needed to keep even with the rate of growth of the labor force. This means that rather than making up ground lost in the recession, we are actually going the wrong way. The economy is falling further below its potential and unemployment is likely to continue to rise.

While this situation got some attention in the news reports, all the accounts I saw completely missed the upward revision to profits. The revised data showed sharply higher profits for both 2009 and 2010. In fact, in the revised data, profits accounted for 23.8 percent of income in the domestic corporate sector in 2010. This is more than a full percentage above the previous peak. Within the corporate sector, the financial industry is the big winner, accounting for 31.7 percent of corporate profits in 2010. This movement in profits is no doubt attributable to all the regulations and taxes imposed by President Obama.

Anyhow, you didn't hear about this from the media because they had to present you with the latest from Tea Party gang, but there are some people who do actually look at economic data.